Analysis: Oregon's first lesbian legislative leader

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For this week's analysis, I am looking at "Oregon will have nation's first out lesbian Speaker of House," an article written by Robert Hulshof-Schmidt of The Examiner.

This article is written about Tina Kotek, an out lesbian legislator in the state of Oregon. She has served as leader of the Oregon House Democratic Caucus since 2011 and will be Speaker of the House for the 2013 session -- the first lesbian legislative leader in the nation.

The author of this article does a great job of using neutral language to describe Kotek. He does not use the word homosexual, which has a negative connotation and should generally be avoided. Instead, he refers to Kotek as a lesbian, as openly gay, as out.
I also appreciate the way in which the author makes it very clear that the fact Kotek is a lesbian is just one aspect of her life. The author finds a good way to balance highlighting the accomplishments she has made in her political career -- the milestones she has made as an openly gay legislator -- while still making it clear that sexual orientation is just one part of her (just as being straight is one part of other politicians). In fact, the author blatantly says such: "Kotek will be one of a handful of legislative leaders who are out and proud and the first lesbian to hold such a position. While her sexual orientation is just one facet of her life, she is proud to represent the community."

Beyond accomplishing the history she is making as an openly gay legislator, though, the author does not dwell on Kotek's sexual orientation. Instead, he talks about the same type of things an article about a straight legislator would -- that Kotek recognizes that the Legislature has a lot of hard work to do, what type of opportunities there are for the future, and so on.

The article also talks about Kotek in the same way an article about a straight person would, too, which illustrates that the author does not hold a bias (nor is overcompensating to try to cover up a covert bias). The end of the article talks about how Kotek came to Oregon, how she got involved in politics, and her personal life (it mentions that she lives in Portland with her partner, Aimee Wilson).

I think the author did a great job giving credit where credit was due for Kotek's historical accomplishment as the first open lesbian legislator while clearly illustrating that her sexual orientation is just one part of her. I especially believe that the language the author chose made the article very nonbiased. I believe his only source was Kotek, as she was the only one quoted in the article, but that appeared to be enough for this short article to have its impact.

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This page contains a single entry by mill3877 published on November 18, 2012 11:01 PM.

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